BBC to sell off and seek partners

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The Independent Online

The BBC will announce on Tuesday that it will sell its programme scheduling and services division, BBC Broadcast, and seek partners for its BBC Resources outside broadcast division.

The BBC will announce on Tuesday that it will sell its programme scheduling and services division, BBC Broadcast, and seek partners for its BBC Resources outside broadcast division.

BBC Director General Mark Thompson is also expected to promise to offload non-programme-related BBC magazines such as Eve and Olive as a concession to commercial publishers. He could seek partners to jointly publish the BBC's television listings magazine, Radio Times.

Mr Thompson will also announce the results of the broadcaster's "value for money" review, which broadcasting union Bectu fears could lead to 4,000 job losses out of a 28,000 workforce. He will set new headcount targets for each department, with the publicity and marketing departments expected to be worst hit.

Unions have threatened to take industrial action if compulsory redundancies are made. This could see some news programmes and outside broadcasts, such as the FA Cup final, taken off air.

The announcements are part of the BBC's preparations for the renewal of its charter, which runs out in two years. Mr Thompson has already ruled out a sale of the BBC's main commercial division, Worldwide.

Private equity groups and media companies will be invited to make bids early in the new year. Investment banks will approach the BBC to see if they can be appointed to advise on any sell-offs or restructuring.

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